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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what considerations formed the basis of the decision to extend the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification scheme probation period.
The Government currently accepts certificates from the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) scheme as a means of assuring central departments that their demand for timber from legal and sustainable sources is being met. That acceptance is provisional on recent changes made to the PEFC scheme being implemented by the national schemes endorsed by PEFC.
An initial examination of some of the national schemes showed that the various national decision making processes were not identical. Subsequent information supplied by the schemes indicated that the processes adopted may nevertheless result in compliance with the PEFC Council requirements but the situation was not clear-cut and called for further consideration.
The Central Point of Expertise on Timber (CPET) will soon undertake a review of all the forest certification schemes assessed by CPET in 2004. The Government have decided that this review will, in addition to examining published scheme requirements, consider evidence of failure to adopt scheme system requirements. The Government would prefer to take a decision on PEFC's probationary status in the light of any new evidence that this review may unearth.